Brexit challenge isn’t as big as you might think, says Bidfood’s Selley

The foodservice industry is up to the challenges posed by the UE’s exit from the EU, Bidfood CEO and FWD chairman Andrew Selley told a hospitality industry gathering this week.

Speaking at the Annual Arena Savoy Lecture in London, Selley asked his audience: “Is Brexit a bigger challenge than the First World War, the Second World War or the 2008 crisis? It is not.

“There are challenges, certainly,” he continued. “The weakened pound is here to stay and will continue to have an impct on all our costs. So we as an industry need to be more productive, more efficient. Foodservice inflation is a reality. We’re happy to ‘deal in real’ but we’re not happy tor Brexit to be used as an excuse for raising costs – ‘it’s 50% more expensive now because of Brexit’ is not acceptable.

“We’re not here to screw suppliers, but we’re certainly not happy to be screwed by them either.”

The country’s exit from the European Union was an opportunity to do business, he said.

“Ours is an industry that impacts the economy and society, and if we can offer more support for local suppliers, provide the provenance our customers want, and cater for the needs of millennials – our future customers and workforce – by establishing our environmental and sustainability credentials, and putting real values at the heart of the business, then we will continue to prosper.

“Sustainability is crucial – it is not a competitive advantage, it’s a collective issue; the more consensus there is within the industry the better.

“A ‘future fit’ foodservice industry is a flexible, fluid one, and this is a resourceful, inventive industry” he concluded.

We’ll have more on Andrew Selley’s Savoy lecture, plus more on this Arena event, in the April issue of Wholesale News.

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